Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Look at Liberal Pseudosciences

The following was an exchange in their blog about one of my letters that was printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The letter was about, what I call pseudosciences, or belief systems that are portrayed as settled sciences so they can be used by government to oppress the citizenry. There were two themes in responding to this letter. The first and most common was most of the pseudosciences I called pseudosciences were not actually not a science. My response was I know that, that’s why I called them pseudosciences. The second was to argue climate change. Here I explained that climate change was far from settled; but regardless it is a pseudoscience because it is being used by governments to try and oppress the citizenry; it common knowledge that those who are zealots about protecting the earth from Anthropogenic Global Warming, referred to themselves as enviro- fascist and they profess the wish that a world fascist government be established so AGW can be properly addressed.

A look at pseudosciences
There are pseudosciences from eugenics to Karl Marx's inevitability of communism, Anthropogenic Global Warming AGW and even Keynesian Economics. All of these pseudosciences have one thing in common -- they do not contain a method for proving them wrong. "A good theory or hypothesis also must be falsifiable, which means that it must be stated in a way that makes it possible to reject it. In other words, we have to be able to prove a theory or hypothesis wrong. Theories and hypotheses need to be falsifiable because all researchers can succumb to the confirmation bias. Researchers who display confirmation bias look for and accept evidence that supports what they want to believe and ignore or reject evidence that refutes their beliefs". Research methods One of the basic truisms of science is that a theory is not scientific unless it passes scrutiny, but the proponents of these pseudosciences simply claim the science is settled. Eugenics says the superior races must reduce the number of useless eaters; Marx said all human endeavors must lead to a dictatorship and collectivism; AGW claims all climate change is a result of human-produced carbon dioxide; and Keynesian economics believes in government-controlled economies, which fail only due to a lack of enough stimulus. So perhaps Marx was right, a least to the point that governments will use so-called settled science to control its citizenry and redistribute wealth for the purposes of social engineering.
Brad Goodwin, Santa Cruz

scienceguy5: And with one swipe of the pen, Brad Goodwin has provided himself with an untestable psuedo-argument that allows him to use his own version of psuedo-science to gainsay anything he doesn't want to believe. Theories don't always have a built in mechanism that will allow them to be "proven" absolutely right or wrong. What scientists do is build a theory on empirical evidence. As long as the evidence supports the theory, the theory stands. When the theory can't incorporate new evidence, or new evidence flat out contradicts the theory, then the theory is modified or abandoned. That's how science works. Communism a science? Where did you come up with that? Eugenics was pure political racism, not a product of science. Economics a science? Not likely ... but I'd take a version of Keynesian over the trickle down, which has been proven BY THE EVIDENCE to NOT work (otherwise we would have been flying high after Bush, who oversaw a shift of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest which paled even Reagan's!). Asimov said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. That says more about the observer than the technology. You've now added the corollary, "Anything I don't understand is a psuedo-science"

My reply: scienceguy5, you miss the whole point. No these are not sciences, but they are presented as science by government for the purposes of tyranny.. You apparently are not a student of history, or you would know that Communism and Eugenics were presented as social sciences at the time (making it the darling, even today, of progressive thought). I am also amused by your argument that if I say something you don't agree with then I am ignorant of the subject; this is always the rational of the left. BTW, I did not mention Keynesian economics in relation to supply side economics; I am simply of the FA Hayek thought that any attempt by the government to improve (ie control) the free market (other than reasonable regulations) will result in inevitable serfdom.

kitty-kitty46: No Brad, I don't think he missed the point. Lots of ideas are promulgated as "science" that are not. You were probably right about governments using pseudoscience to control the population, but that is hardly the realm of any particular type of government, or of governments alone. Denying that Marijuana has any legitimate medical uses based on "scientific" research, teaching "creationism" as science, or other examples where ideology is confused with science are used by many parts of society to manipulate others. This is certainly not just a tactic of the left. Understanding complex issues is not easy, and belief is too often a substitute for critical thought.

My reply: kitty-kitty46, you say that scienceguy5 didn't miss the point, them you go on to agree with me. Yes, the marijuana laws (and drug laws in general) are ludicrous and undermining the security of our country. I will leave the government vs religion for another day. And it really doesn't matter if there are "other examples where ideology is confused with science are used by many parts of society to manipulate others." It only matters if it is done by government, because government has the ability to forcefully control lives; it's called tyranny..

Steven Hauskins: Sorry Brad, when you make statements like this:

"AGW claims all climate change is a result of human-produced carbon dioxide;"

You really don't understand what climate scientists are saying.

There is much evidence in support that human activity adds to the CO2 levels in the atmosphere and that in turn causes more heat to be trapped.

Do you think human activity has caused other issues in the earth's environment? Say air pollution, ground water pollution, ocean pollution. Poisons like DDT in the food chain I suppose just got their naturally. We also have the ability to turn the entire Earth into a radioactive ghost land. Humans have a vast ability to change the world physically, with that comes a great responsibility.

As to keynesian economics and eugenics those are not hard sciences.

jaj48: The global warmers have it backwards. The heat precedes the CO2.When Greenland was Florida east,the suv was unknown.

My reply: I will agree that scientists do not say all climate change is caused by AGW, but they believe it is significant enough that we need a fascists world government to stop the damage caused by man. I thoroughly believe that man is poisoning the earth, a fact that has been relegated to the back seat because of all the attention and money being thrown at AGW. My point is it doesn't matter if Keynesian economics and eugenics are not hard sciences,if government funds them and forces the concepts as settled sciences they result in tyranny; that is why I called them pseudosciences. Further, the concept that CO2 traps heat continues to be unprovable, based solely on proxy science with very questionable research data. as jaj48 said, it is reproducible that as the ocean warms it releases CO2, but it in not reproducible that increased CO2 traps and warms the ocean. Al Gore has been called on this so many times, that he now refuses to debate the issue anymore.

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